Subtitle Blunders Leave BBC Red Faced

Language Faux Pas7 March 20143.2k

Using clear language is the best way to speak to people and boost brand authority. 

However, trying to be compelling and engaging can be a daunting task, made even more complex as organizations attempt to cater to the expectations of a worldwide audience in the linguistic and cultural minefield of global media.

The BBC – state broadcaster for the UK – has found itself in hot water after a series of embarrassing mistakes with its subtitles service led to viewers being misinformed about some of their programmes.

For example, the Chinese New Year welcome came out as 'year of the whores' – it was the year of the horse – while Manchester United footballer Adnan Januzaj's surname was spelt as 'Janet jazz jazz jam'.

While these errors will typically be taken with a pinch of salt, there is a lesson to be learned for all companies about the importance of accuracy, as the hard of hearing may not appreciate the honest mistakes.

Indeed, the regulator Ofcom has announced it will now review the quality of TV broadcasters' subtitles.

"Ofcom expects regular reporting by broadcasters to help improve subtitles over time, as well as allowing us to identify exactly which areas need most progress," said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom consumer group director.

The regulator is now going to produce twice-yearly reports that will point to any progress made and advice for where further improvements are still possible. It's thought the current guidance on latency and speed could be altered if the results are not suitable.

However, brands should not be put off using subtitles, as they are still an excellent way to engage with people, provided they are accurate!

Here at EQHO we have over 500 qualified subtitlers using the latest subtitling tools and pooling to provide subtitling solutions in over 40 languages. Our services include the localization of hard coded, XML and text based. 

Budgets on both ends of the scale can be accommodated, whether it is low-cost subtitling for projects with limited budgets, or closed captioning for the hard of hearing.

Posted by Subtitle Blunders Leave BBC Red Faced


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